The Bold Voice of J&K

Pro-farmer Act

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Aiming to kick start several stalled projects in power, housing, defence sector the recent move of the Union Government  to give nod to Ordinance to ease land laws is a welcome step to push forward the infrastructure projects. Restrictions on buying land under a law championed by the previous Congress-led UPA government were among the barriers holding up the projects worth almost many billions. Several states have asked the Union Government to overhaul the law enacted in January. Under the new dispensation the ownership of land will remain with the government in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects. The new Ordinance envisages that compensation would be high with norms for rehabilitation and resettlement faster. The government must have the desire to implement these decisions and not undermine the parliamentary system in a democracy. As per the changes brought in the Ordinance, multi-crop irrigated land can also be acquired for these purposes. The earlier Act provided for consent of 70 per cent of land owners whose land is acquired for PPP projects. The move to bring excluded 13 Acts under the Land Acquisition Act for compensation and rehabilitation and resettlement purposes was a “pro-farmer step”.  In the process of prolonged procedure for land acquisition, neither the farmer is able to get benefit nor is the project completed in time for the benefit of society at large. Therefore the present changes allow a fast track process for defence and defence production, rural infrastructure including electrification, housing for poor including affordable housing, industrial corridors and infrastructure projects including projects taken up under PPP mode where ownership of the land continues to be vested with the government. These projects are essential for bringing in better economic opportunities for the people living in these areas and would also help in improving quality of life. The existing Act vide Section 105 (read with Schedule IV) has kept 13 most frequently used Acts for Land Acquisition for the Central Government projects out of the purview. These Acts are applicable for national highways, metro rail, atomic energy projects, electricity-related other projects etc. Thus, a large percentage of famers and affected families were denied the compensation and relief and rehabilitation measures prescribed under the Act.

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